isu lingo

sycamore leaf

Academic Load: The academic load is the number of credit hours a student carries in a semester. For purposes of financial aid, 12 or more semester hours is considered full-time. However, to graduate in four years, a student must earn 31 credit hours an academic year (15 and 16 hours per semester).

Alma Mater: The school, college, or university which one attends; also the song or hymn of a school, college, or university. The words in Latin mean “fostering mother.”

Words to Indiana State’s Alma Mater:
Out upon the swelling breezes,
let our voices ring
As to thee, our Alma Mater,
heartfelt praise we sing.
Though the years to come may part us,
Friends and comrades true,
ISU, our Alma Mater, here’s our pledge to you.

B.A.: the abbreviation for the bachelor of arts degree. This baccalaureate degree traditionally requires 12 credit hours in a single foreign language. Requirements for this degree vary depending on the college of enrollment.

B.S.: Similar to the B.A., the B.S. stands for the bachelor of science degree. This baccalaureate degree is traditionally conferred upon students who have not completed four semesters of credit in a single foreign language. Requirements for this degree vary depending on the college of enrollment.

Blue Bucks: a declining balance account tied to the Sycamore ID card, and is similar to the way a debit card works. Students can make food purchases at participating off campus merchants by swiping their Sycamore ID card.

Class Standing: determined by the cumulative number of credit hours completed. Freshman status is assigned to all new students. Sophomore classification will be granted to students who have completed 30 earned hours. Junior classification will be granted to students who have completed 60 earned hours . Senior classification will be granted to students who have completed 90 earned hours.

The Commons: The place to meet and be seen. Located in Hulman Memorial Student Union, the Commons houses the Bookstore, Generations restaurant, a bank, a copy center, convenience store, and a variety of fast-food establishments.

Commons Cash: part of the meal plan that can be spent at any food outlet in the Commons. Freshmen who live in residence halls are restricted from using Commons Cash Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Commuter: any student who does not live in a residence hall.


Academic credit: term used to describe a unit of academic work. Each class at ISU is worth one, two, three, or four credits, usually corresponding to the number of hours the class meets per week. The words “credits” and “hours” are used interchangeably. A student must earn a minimum of 124 credits (or hours) to graduate, excluding duplicate hours. To graduate within four years, students must earn at least 31 credits (or hours) an academic year.

Food credits: part of the meal plan used primarily in resident dining. Credits get students into the Sycamore or Lincoln dining room for the “all you care to eat” meals. These credits may also be used on the weekends in the Commons at selected retail outlets (Burger King and Taco Bell for example). Students can convert excess credits to Commons Cash. Additional credits can be purchased for only 20 cents per credit.

DARS: The Degree Audit Reporting System allows your student to track their progress toward their degree regarding requirements met and requirements remaining unmet. Your student can receive an audit anytime from Information regarding DARS can be obtained from academic advisors or by visiting and following Degree Audit and Transfer instructions.

Dede: Pronounced DeeDee. This is the name given to the fountain area (Dede Plaza) and to three activity areas within Hulman Memorial Student Union. These areas were named for Ed and Mary Dede, two local philanthropists who donated money toward the Union complex.

Donaghy Day: Named after Fred Donaghy, graduate of the Normal School (1912) and a professor of life sciences, Donaghy Day was initiated in 1976 as a day set aside to help beautify the campus and surrounding community. Donaghy Day takes place one day in the fall and again in the spring and is a great way for students to give back to the community, to connect with other students and share in this experience together.

E-mail: Your student should regularly access their ISU Outlook e-mail account to receive official communications from the University.

Encumbrance: If your student is encumbered, a hold is put on any future registration. An encumbrance can be issued for money owed the University or for conduct violations. Students who have been academically dismissed are encumbered.

FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, a federal law which gave students access to their education records, an opportunity to seek to have the records amended, and some control over the disclosure of information from the records. With several exceptions, schools must have a student's consent prior to the disclosure of education records. This federal law also gave students 18 years old or older, or students of any age if enrolled in any post-secondary educational institution, the right of privacy regarding grades, enrollment, and even billing information, unless the school has specific permission from the student to share that specific type of information with the parent.

Foundational Studies: Formerly known as General Education. curriculum seeks to create well rounded individual; students have the opportunity to take courses in science, history, literature, behavioral sciences, and the fine arts. Together the major and the Foundational Studies curriculum prepare students to be effective communicators, critical thinkers, and informed decision makers.

GPA: Another abbreviation, this one stands for grade point average. Indiana State uses a 4.0 system where an A+ and A= 4 points, A- = 3.7 points, B+ = 3.3 points, B = 3 points, B- = 2.7 points, C+ = 2.3 points, C = 2 points, C- = 1.7 points, D+ = 1.3 points, D =1 point, D- = 0.7 point, and F = 0 points.

To find the grade point average, add the total number of points earned and divide by the number of semester hours (credits) attempted. A grade of 2.0 or above is required for graduation.

March On: March On (You Fighting Sycamores),” the University’s fight song, was authored and arranged by Joseph A. Gremelspacher, an ISU professor of music, as a pep song. It was first performed at a homecoming pep rally on October 20, 1939.

Words to March On:
March on! March on, you fighting Sycamores, Sycamores,
March on, you Statesmen tried and true.
March on! March on, to glorious vic-to-ry.
Raise that flag of Royal Blue!
March on! March on, you fighting Sycamores, Sycamores,
Shout out the victory song!
Onward, ever onward to the goal, as you march, on and on!

Microsoft Campus Agreement: ISU has signed an agreement with Microsoft for students to use the more popular Microsoft software programs, including the Microsoft Office suite (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access). All ISU students who have paid the student technology fee can obtain copies of this software for PC or Mac at no additional charge. Students are required to show an ISU picture ID and sign an acceptance form. For additional information about the agreement visit msca/   

MyISU Portal: The MyISU portal is a secure University Intranet for the ISU community and the gateway for official University information. This is where your student can check e-mail, register for courses, and look at their account balances on-line. The portal’s address is 

Prerequisite: A prerequisite is a requirement which must be completed before taking certain classes. Examples of prerequisites include class standing, completion of another course, or permission of the instructor.

Provost: The highest ranking academic official at an institution of higher education.

The Quad

Lincoln Quad: One of two “Quads” at ISU, Lincoln Quad is a residence hall complex on the north end of campus which consists of suites with a common living room.

Grassy Quad: The other “Quad” is the traditional center of campus, where Condit House is located.

Spring Week: One week of activities in April which include a tandem bicycle race.

Student Recreation Center:This facility houses a three-court gymnasium, a MAC (multi-activity court), aquatics and fitness areas, a juice bar and lounge area, locker facilities and equipment rooms, a massage therapy room, and administrative offices.

Student Technology Fee: The Student Technology Fee is designed to provide funds for the improvement of technology used by your student at Indiana State University. These funds are used for such things as purchasing the Microsoft Campus Agreement for students, upgrading student access technology laboratories, and providing laser printing.

Sycamore Card: The official name for a student’s ID card. Among other things, this card serves as the meal card, allows entrance into all campus activities, and is used to check out materials from Cunningham Memorial Library.

Sycamore Sam: Sycamore Sam is ISU’s mascot for athletics.